Health & Fitness

Salt and High Blood Pressure: Two Silent Killers

KARACHI: Pakistan Hypertension League (PHL) is observing World Hypertension Day throughout Pakistan. World Hypertension Day is organized worldwide on 17th of May every year under the auspices of World Hypertension League (WHL). This year’s theme for World Hypertension Day is ‘Salt and High Blood Pressure: Two Silent Killers’.

Speaking at a press conference held in Karachi, President PHL Professor Mohammad Ishaq said,

“High Blood Pressure is the largest single cause of death worldwide through strokes, heart attacks and kidney diseases. It is alarming that 18% of the Pakistan’s population is hypertensive of which 97% are uncontrolled. High salt intake is one of the major reasons for hypertension. It is established that if salt intake is reduced by half, it would save approximately 2.5 million deaths a year from strokes and heart attacks world wide.”

“To counter this menace PHL recommends to Cut down on foods high in sodium; eat in moderation the servings of processed foods and eat whole heartedly only those foods that are low in sodium.” Professor Mohammad Ishaq added.

Hypertension is a very common public health problem. The PMRC data published in 1997 revealed that 18% of the Pakistani Population has raised blood pressure levels. There are an estimated 12 Million hypertensives in Pakistan. This is an alarming situation. It was in recognition of this problem and the challenge of urgently doing something, that the PHL was founded in 1995 and officially launched in 1997, by a group of physicians. PHL is affiliated with World Hypertension League (WHL) and International Society of Hypertension (ISH).

The objective of PHL is to create awareness about high blood pressure- a silent killer in medical profession and public and also to carry out research related to high blood pressure. PHL has Eleven Chapters in all major cities in Pakistan who carry out activities in line with PHL objectives.

Mr. Mohammad Shakeel, a veteran TV artist and a hypertension patient himself, shared an emotional recollection of how he was diagnosed with hypertension and how he has balanced his lifestyle to best manage hypertension. He shared that once a person is diagnosed hypertensive, he can take measures to control the disease, but can never cure it. He also gave a personal three point agenda that to manage life with hypertension; regular light exercise, balanced nutrition with low salt intake, and timely medication’ are the three most essential ingredients one has to adopt if he intends to live a healthy life.

Others present at the occasion were CEO of Novartis Pharma, Mr. Shahab Rizvi. PHL’s Executive Members; Professor Ejaz Vohra, Professor Mansoor Ahmed, Professor Waris Qudwai, Dr. Maqbool Jafary, Dr. Abdul Rasheed Khan, Dr. Aziz Khan Tank and Dr. Bashir Hanif were also present.

Dr. Maqbool Jafary, Chairman, Scientific Committee PHL said, “PHL has initiated a large scale program to screen 20,000 patients across Pakistan for blood pressure and its risk with full support from CEO of Novartis Pharma, Mr. Shahab Rizvi.”

All participants at the venue were tested for high blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index to establish understanding and to spread realization of hypertension as a deadly disease.

Professor Ishaq also added, “To promote the objective of PHL, an educational symposium for General Practitioners is organized at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital on morning of 16th May and mass scale public screening for Blood Pressure and its risk factors (Sugar, Cholesterol, Body Mass Index etc) will be held at kidney Institute and Tabba Heart Institute on the same day. Similar programs are being organized in other cities by its local chapters throughout Pakistan on this auspicious day.” NNI

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Mubashar Nizam

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